South East Light Rail: Anticipated Capacity

From early 2019, light rail will offer reliable, comfortable and frequent transport for customers travelling within the CBD and to/from Surry Hills, Moore Park, Randwick and Kingsford.

Light rail will also deliver significant increases to public transport capacity into and out of the Sydney CBD, integrated with a redesigned bus network that will continue to provide direct services between the South East and CBD, including existing express services and some all-stops routes.

Current planning would see a combined light rail and bus network deliver citybound morning peak (7-9am) capacity increases of more than 10 per cent from Kingsford and 30 per cent from Randwick, and a doubling of morning peak capacity from the CBD to UNSW and the Randwick hospital precinct.

The precise details of the supporting bus plan will be developed in detail in 2018 based on the patronage and demand that exists then using the new rich source of data from Opal showing precise origin and destination, as well as opportunities to provide improved connections for customers including cross regional services.

High-capacity buses (articulated and 14.5 metre vehicles) will be prioritised for services operating into the city centre, with the lowest-capacity buses to no longer service the Sydney CBD. This is reflected in Transport’s long-held statement that a light rail vehicle is the equivalent of up to nine standard buses.

As such, removal of 180 buses – both citybound and outbound – from the city centre in the hour from 8am to 9am represents capacity of 9,000: about 6,000 citybound and 3,000 away from the city. This is comfortably replaced by the 6,750 customers light rail will carry in each direction per hour.

It is important to note that the figure of 220 buses to be removed from the CBD refers to light rail replacement and broader bus network changes (see Sydney City Access Strategy, Executive Summary, page 2).

Source: Transport for NSW, 23 August 2016.